Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category
Tony Greenstein in a temperate mood.
Comrade Tony Greenstein’s resignation from Left Unity sent shock waves last month throughout the world progressive, labour, and socialist movement.
The news was published in the august pages of the Weekly Worker on the 5th of June.
Now on his Blog he explains his standpoint.
I resigned from Left Unity nearly a month ago. Set up in a blaze of publicity, it has fallen victim to identity politics and navel gazing. It reports that it has 2,000 members. If so they make next to no impact. There is no internal life in the organisation, no paper or journal, and criticism of policies such as ‘safe spaces’ for women are frowned upon or, as is the case in Manchester subject to censorship and suspension
Using dialectical tools honed in years of struggle Brighton’s Best continues.
It would be a pleasure to reproduce the text in full but for reasons of space and attention-span we confine ourselves to extracts.
Cde Greenstein has no doubt where some of the blame for the rise of UKIP lies,
….most mailings from the Centre have concerned elections for the multiplicity of posts in LU. Barely a word has been issued concerning prioritising campaigns such as the destruction of the NHS or the welfare state. Bogus issues of interest to just a handful of careerists, such as intersectionality, have been deemed of more importance instead.
It is little wonder that LU didn’t see fit to stand candidates in the European elections when it has such pressing internal issues to deal with. The result is that UKIP and its anti-immigration policies have been given a free ride and LU has abandoned what could have been an effective platform for introspective navel gazing.
This post continues in this vein and reaches this conclusion,
LU’s leadership could do worse than to look at the success of Syriza in Greece and try and learn some lessons. However I fear that they are too fixed in their views and politics to learn lessons from anyone. They insist on following the same strategies that embraced Respect and destroyed the Socialist Alliance. Politically LU has demonstrated complete impotence on questions like Ireland. My conclusion is that the time for success has now passed and what is left is a terrible missed politically opportunity.
I have therefore decided that no purpose is served by my continuing to remain a member and I have decided to resign from Left Unity.
In case anybody has sympathy with some of these views – which include criticisms of ‘intersectionality’ (poor old Richard Seymour’s latest hobby horse) and ‘safe spaces’, not to mention Greenstein’s comments on the LU failure to campaign on welfare – this has been brought to the Tendance’s attention (ME),
TO THOSE on the left who derive sado-masochistic entertainment from the more bilious of its internal debates, Tony Greenstein will need no introduction. But for anyone who doesn’t think that spending endless hours on email discussion lists and internet message boards is an appropriate and productive use of their time, it is necessary to provide a little background.
Tony Greenstein is a socialist based in Brighton who engages in a form of political masturbation that consists basically of attacking the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty in the most poisonous terms known to him at every possible opportunity. Tony attacks the AWL for its small size, but he is not on very firm ground arguing numbers with a group more than 100 times the size of his own: the Tony Greenstein sect of one.
Tony’s ferocious hatred of the AWL overrides all rational political thought; so, for example, when Tony stood as a candidate for the Socialist Green Unity Coalition (in which the AWL also participated) in the 2005 General Election, Tony felt it appropriate to write a letter to the CPGB newspaper Weekly Worker attacking the AWL in characteristic terms, even though he knew this would harm the coalition of which he himself was part. This sort of behaviour is illustrative of Tony’s general approach – not rational, worked-out criticism but frenzied slander. His diatribe in What Next? [‘The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty – Britain’s Revolutionary Imperialists’] is no different. It is embarrassing in its lack of rigour, in the way it substitutes anecdotal slander for political critique, and in its use of blatant lies, distortions and half-truths.
More on What next? site.
In a long political career on the outside of the outside left Cde Greenstein has accumulated a broader range of enemies than the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL) – they extend, let us say, from senior figures in the trade union movement to just about every party and groupuscule on the left (his latest bug-bear is Socialist Resistance).
He has even got the goat of somebody genuinely loathed by all progressives, Gilad Atzmon.
AWL Must be Brought to Justice Says CPGB External Faction.
Jack Conrad is the grandson of Neville Chamberlain.
That says it all comrades.
At a time when liquidationism is at the end of the road, so-called eclectic Left Unity has created a space that’s unsafe for Communists, and the ACI flotsam has done the washing up on the same shore as the ISN jetsam, has the Weekly Worker raised itself to the point of view of the class as a whole, i.e. the lessons of history?
One of us was publicly denounced for ‘alienating’ comrades by ‘shouting’ at a Weekly Worker comrade for pointing out that Jack Conrad has failed to respond effectively to the ” unsavoury manoeuvrings of the Wrackites and their allies.”
We do not ascribe, i.e. allege, “malevolent or anti-democratic intentions” to the CPGB’s Provisional Central Committee.
Compared with the other platforms, the Communist Platform showed itself to be united, effective, disciplined and sometimes occasionally, something near to honest.
But, “If we are to realise human freedom the working class must first form itself into a party, sweep away the existing state and establish a semi-state that is already in the process of dying” we need a change of course.
How is this state to be established?
While communists initially welcomed the Weekly Worker’s interventions in Left Unity, there can be no denying that it is organisationally flabby, programmatically bereft and its main organisers have displayed an unforgivable contempt for the basic norms of Leninism.
How has it responded to the AWL leadership’s pro-imperialist positions on Israel-Palestine, the Iraq war and occupation, the Libyan intervention, etc. The AWL cancer, has it been cut out?
The AWL is not just “Pro” imperialist, it is imperialist, i.e. an agency of international imperialism in its most degenerate form.
Surely the norms of democratic centralism would mean the immediate expulsion of the AWL from Left Unity. The holding of a highly public trial of its leadership, and hangers-on, not to mention those implicated in its spy and sabotage networks should follow.
As for most of the Socialist Platform’s leadership, an unprincipled lashed down of centrists, anarcho-syndicalists and Third Campists – who voted against “human freedom”, “full development of individuality”, the proposal that “the organisations of the working class must be democratically, not bureaucratically organised”, they are objectively on the same line i.e. in the interests of imperialism.
Above all, the family of liquidationist non-sequiturs , running so-called Left Unity, such as notorious right-winger Richard Seynour, and the centrist liquid swamp of Socialist Resistance, must be fought!
Our comrades have already published the draft programme of the Provisional Central Committee (External Faction) to replace the rotten Weekly Worker leadership.
Although they are now the pseudo-revolutionary rump of a rightwards-moving reformist party, we nonetheless offer the CPGB our unequivocal support in their futile defensive struggle against the Wrackite-Centrists, and against all the other odious “flotsam and jetsam” washing up against them in the new “Left Unity” party.
In the face of a common enemy, all differences must be (temporarily and reluctantly) set aside. These new slogans are on the order of the day:
Ipswich Tory Faction Fight Over Richard lll.
As the SWP brouhaha continues Ipswich Tory’s are descending into their own factional wars.
Key faction Document No1.
“If Richard III is innocent of the charges against him, then so is Chris Huhne.”
An article in the spectator here, puts it just like that.
the late king’s spine was indeed twisted by scoliosis and one of his shoulders was noticeably higher than the other. Those particular pieces of Tudor and Shakespearian “spin” were no more than the plain truth.
Here’s the charge sheet
The murder of his two nephews, the Princes in the Tower
The murder of the saintly and mentally fragile Henry VI
The decapitation of William, Lord Hastings
The cold-blooded execution in Salisbury market place of his own chief henchman and former partner in crime, Henry Stafford, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham.
The seizure and later quiet murder of Lord Rivers and Sir Richard Grey
As the spectator article says
Richard’s most recent biographers Professor Michael Hicks and Desmond Seward, and the respected historian Alison Weir – have come to the same conclusion: contemporary evidence rather than “Tudor propaganda” leaves little room for doubt that he is guilty of the crimes for which posterity (and Shakespeare) have traditionally condemned him. To pretend otherwise, as so many Ricardians do, is sentimental fantasy.
Let there be no talk of a state funeral for this villainous psychopathic hunchbacked monster of a tyrant. Just unceremoniously throw his bones in a council incinerator.
Document 2, ‘Stephen”.
“Richard was not guilty on any of those counts – do you know any history? Perhaps you think he was conspiring with Mossad (cr. c.1948) or something?”
Document 3, “Kevin”.
“Mossad’s motto is ‘By Deception make War’ Richard III wasn’t deceptive in his tyranny. He openly reigned with terror.”
Document 4, “Stephen”.
“You are comparing him to your friends Assad and Imadinnerjacket – which is totally risible.”
“Richard III was an antisemite.”
There is more, a lot more.
Stephen’s faction, The “Richard the Third Society” controls the Ipswich Tory Central Committee.
Sources indicate that “Kevin” has been taken to “Tower Ramparts” and given a good talking to by Ipswich Conservative Party Officials.
“George Galloway took to the stage last night to relaunch his Respect party in Newham and try to force a local election after the council rejected plans for a so-called “mega mosque”.
Mr Galloway vowed to put a petition up on the Downing Street website as soon as Parliament resumes after its Christmas break demanding Newham Council changes its decision on the mosque or changes its leadership.
The former MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, who is now the MP for Bradford, said he believed Newham is ready for a political revival after councillors voted against a planning application for a mosque holding more than 9,000 people in Canning Town, run by followers of the controversial Tablighi Jamaat movement*.
More than 50 people turned out last night for the public meeting in Plaistow which also saw Lee Jasper, a former advisor to previous London Mayor Ken Livingstone, and Yvonne Ridley, a war correspondent who converted to Islam after being captured by the Taliban, take to the stage.
Dressed all in black Mr Galloway told people gathered inside Harold Road Centre, off Green Street, that he would send one of his top people to challenge Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales’ leadership in Newham at the next local election. He did not rule out that he might take on the challenge himself.
If the Respect party does not succeed in forcing an early election in Newham, following the refusal of the mosque, then the party plans to put up a mayoral candidate and councillors in 2014 when elections are due.
Mr Galloway said: “Newham is ready for a political revival and as far as we’re concerned it begins here tonight. We know there is something rotten in this borough. New Labour has far too much power for the good of the borough.”
He then hit out at the councillors decision to reject the mosque.
He said: “It’s a big mosque because a lot of people want to pray to the almighty. What is wrong with praying?”
Mr Galloway went on to say that you can lend money at high interest rates at a time when “destructive” aspects of society such as alcohol and gambling is rife.
“But you can’t build a mosque,” he said.
Full Story London 24.
* “Due to the orthodox nature of Tablighi Jamaat, they have been criticized for being retrogressive. The women in the movement observe completest hijab for which the Tablighi Jamaat is accused of keeping women “strictly subservient and second string”. More criticisms and answers to them here.
Socialist Resistance carry this report on the meeting, A Respect revival in East London?
…the overwhelming backdrop to the meeting was anger at decision earlier in the month by Newham Council, led by its Executive Mayor Robin Wales, to refuse planning permission to a new mosque development in the borough (dubbed a ‘super-mosque’ or ‘megamosque’ by its opponents and the media). Over 3,000 supporters of the Mosque had gathered at the Council meeting on 5 December to hear the rejection of plans for the 9,000 capacity Abbey Mills development proposed by Tablighi Jamaat, a relatively conservative Islamic grouping.
Comment ‘relatively conservative’ – relative to what?
But we let this pass for the main part of the (unsigned) article repays re-reading,
Newham council leaders had claimed the proposed mosque was ‘too big’. “It’s big” said Galloway “because so many people want to go”. “I have no doubt”, he told the meeting, reminding them of his Catholic background, “that if 95,000 Catholics had wanted a ‘big’ church to pray in it would have got planning permission”, particularly as it was on disused, unattractive wasteland. Galloway and some other speakers repeatedly pointed to the positive aspects of people wanting to pray, ”in these godless times”, and, at times, the meeting had more than the hint of a religious ‘Revivalist’ meeting, rather than one purely about reviving a political party.
Galloway went into a tirade against gambling and alcohol promotions on Christmas Television and Lee Jasper also spoke about how “despite these godless times” the growth of London’s black evangelical Christian churches, who had encountered difficulties with getting new premises, should be supported because they were bringing hope to people. The notion of faith as a centre of resistance for communities facing austerity now seems to be more than a passing part of Respect’s frame of reference following the departure of some key secularist left figures during the recent difficulties over Galloway’s appalling statements on rape.
Note however that Socialist Resistance, the last organised left group to be part of the Respect ‘Coalition’ then limit their main criticism of Galloway to his personalised party building strategy, or “top down” policy.
Aka, his grasping and egomaniacal unbearable personal foibles.
But wait, there, is what they call his “Scottish Folly’.
So proud is the author of this criticism that she/he adds,
Like a certain Shakespearean play in the theatre, the ‘Scottish Folly’ is never mentioned openly…
Nobody mentions this because nobody gives a toss about the fact that Socialist Resistance finally broke with Respect, not over Galloway’s kowtowing to Islamism and the Syrian Regime, but because he is a British Unionist who is against the right-wing SNP leader Salmond and his plans for bonnie Scotland.
The piece ends with this mealy-mouthed statement,
Respert may well be here to stay and part of the wider solution, particularly in electoral successes, but on the evidence so far it does not seem to ‘the’ sole solution to building a broad left party.
I have expressed the view elsewhere that getting 60 people (assuming that these are not ‘Socialist Worker’ figures, real total 30) along to a meeting in Newham, for all the cold shiverin’ weather, and the counter attractions of alcohol and gambling, and no doubt Evangelical Churches, is an achievement of sorts for a place with a population of, hey what is it, a couple of hundred of thousand people.
St Matthew’s Street Station. A Basse-Lag Christmas Tale.
The latest Tower Rampart Worker was rubbish, thought Merk. On the front-page was the news that sales of the paper had been “brilliant” at a Unite the Unite Meeting, and that three Cactae/Cacti had joined. He turned to Travailleur Hebdo. In thick print they denounced the ‘Ramp’ Central Committee’s “bureaucratic centralism” and the formation of the 214th ‘Democratic Opposition’ to the CC. Comrade Dream-Weaver Alex’s predictions of permanent revolution in New Ipswich came in for some stick.
Merk had no more time to look through the left press. It was the Yule Eve. He had three days off from his job tending the Sphagnum Moss Garden on top of the Waterfront University. There was an illegal bottle of cold Vodka, but no truffles, in the fridge….
Outcast Oliphant-people grew the tubers just outside the City. They brought them to the market to sell, by stalls offering pungent curry-wurst, kaki fruit, and piles of ruby-olives. He would have to go there as soon as possible.
The route from Merk’s flat passed by the HQ of Mayor Benedict the 2nd.Twenty stories high the lower floors were decked in video-posters of the Municipal Chief and his Deputy, Andrew ‘Coco’. They read, The Community Program Makes Free! In the narrow road a gang of the unemployed was cleaning the pavement with tooth brushes. A small child was watching them, clearly terrified.
On the Corn Hill there were no traders. A rally was taking place. On the steps of the old City Hall the leader of the Progressive English Patriots, a Remade with a twisted mouth cut out of a large pumpkin head, was holding forth. He caught only a few lines. “The Malignant Cult of the Absent Without Leave – AWL …” he ranted, lips covered with spittle. “I scorn their pathetic minions…” “We need a Wall, an anti-Fascist Wall, to stave off …” So this was the New Man!
Merk would have laughed. But on the edges of the tiny audience hovered, menacingly, the Patriots’ Allies, the Green Shorts militia of Lord George ‘Gallows’ Spode.
At 15 o’clock there was still time to get the fungi. It was too expensive to take a sky-taxi and the Montgolfière was too slow. Yet St Matthew’s Street Station was not far away. It would take him to directly to the Oliphants. The Subway at the Roundabout led to the intersection of the Meridional Line to London, and the Septentrional Line to their Tuddenham settlement. The Moss Gardner bought a cheap return Metro ticket and was soon on the way.
The Underground came to the surface at Westerfield. The train paused at the crossing with the Lowestoft railway to let pass a long succession of Goods Wagons, carrying prisoners to the Kessingland Holiday Camp. The Mayor had ordered a pre-Yule vagrant-sweep of the streets. The Official City Paper, the Ipswich Stella, had said that they were to undergo mentoring and training. Rumours in the last two local pubs where drinks stronger than 3% were permitted were already circulating that another batch of undesirables were to be ‘remade’. The groans from the rail carriages did not indicate much enthusiasm at this prospect.
Merk alighted at the village. The Oliphant Greenhouses were stacked along the side of the Finn Valley, gleaming in the winter sun. There was no sign of anybody selling their produce. He would have walked into the market gardens. But warning against this were notices saying, “Private Property. Trespassers will be Eradicated.”
How could he get the truffles? Obviously, one could ask a villager. In front was the Holy Lamb Inn, where caffeine free espresso, soda drinks and warm real ale (not more than 1%!)” were for sale. From the whooping sounds and ‘Praise the Lords’ there must be a prayer meeting going in inside. Merk was registered under the new ‘religious registration law’ as a non-believer. He would not approach the Tavern.
While pondering this somebody came out of the Lamb. He was grey, tallish and wore unusually heavy spectacles, but all that Merk registered was that he had a large snake coiled around him, and he was uttering “I am Healed” It was hard not to recognise Vek, the Holy Roller, who had stood on the Benedict Slate for the last election and had finally won Gippeswick Ward after 20 years of standing. Vek cried out, “The Lord’s a-comin’, it’s the Rapture!”
It was at this moment that the heavens split asunder and the Interplanetary Revolutionary Communist-Marxist Federation sent down its ships to liberate the City of Ipswich….
Document original received in Rendlesham Forest Sunday 19th of December 2012.